There is a lot of information circulating about identifying and getting appropriate treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Much of that information discusses how research has consistently demonstrated that social support is vital to recovery and is one of the biggest protective factors against post-traumatic stress disorder.
Social support has a number of positive benefits following a trauma, including reducing feelings of depression, guilt, loneliness, low self-esteem, stress, and social withdrawal. While one may recognize the importance of social support for our battle buddies with PTSD, it may be difficult to determine how to go about providing good social support to those who need it most.
Some individuals struggling with their symptoms may actually alienate those around them, making it even more difficult for friends to reach out and provide support. This is a difficult dilemma to navigate.
In order to assist those struggling to find a way to support a friend through his or her struggle with PTSD, here are a few tips and suggestions. Coping with and healing after trauma takes time, even when the individual is working hard and everything is going well. As such, it is important to stay positive and understanding. And most importantly, it is crucial for you to continue to be there for your friend despite his or her setbacks.
You may feel like you spend a lot of time reaching out and trying to be there for your friend, but they rarely take you up on your offer or reciprocate by being there for you. Withdrawing from friends is a hallmark symptom of PTSD.
It is not personal or reflective of how much they value you or your efforts. A person with PTSD may have incredible difficulty reaching out to you, or even taking you up on your offers.
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It may be helpful to revert back to tip 1: It is hard to know what someone will need, but be sure they know you are a safe person to approach.
Be steadfast in your support. Trauma is, obviously, a sensitive topic. While talking about trauma can be therapeutic, in the wrong context, it can actually make coping more difficult. It is best to make it known to your friend that you are there for him or her if they need it, but do not force it.
Individuals with PTSD frequently withdraw from their social support system. However, social support is an enormous protective factor against PTSD at the same time. Try to remember that it is important for you to reach out to them. However, it is also important to respect their boundaries. Demonstrate that you are available, make it as easy as possible for them to reach out to you, and demonstrate you are a safe person to approach if he or she needs you.
Your support can counteract some very real symptoms of PTSD including helplessness, grief, and rumination. Even if you are not talking about the trauma or any of his or her difficulties, spending quality time together is invaluable.
In contrast, if you push too hard, you may find your battle buddy feels overwhelmed and retreats further away from you to feel safe. If your friend chooses to talk and share with you, the best thing you can Hookup someone with ptsd from war is listen.
Try to listen without expectations or judgments. Validate them, Hookup someone with ptsd from war empathic, and listen. Even if he or she needs to talk about the same thing over and over again, try to be patient and listen. Instead of trying to guide them in their journey, just show that you will walk alongside them.
You may not like what you hear, but try to be understanding of their experiences and reactions so they feels safe coming to you again if need be. Essentially, this means be a trustworthy and reliable friend.
Be dependable, reassuring, and follow through on the promises you make.